Chapter Ten

I make it to the station with 10 minutes to spare before the train from Edinburgh is due to arrive. I know that this is a mistake, that I should be more careful, scope out the station before I submit to the vicious urgings coursing through my body. It has been two years since I last killed, two years during which all kinds of security upgrades could have been carried out in the station.

In all that time, the time I had with Monica, I never once felt the need to take an innocent life. Having her around made my life seem worthwhile, seem good and just, and I had truthfully almost forgotten the feelings of exhultation that passed through my veins at the moment of each of my kills.

Because, as trite as it may sound, nothing could ever feel as good as having Monica in my life felt.

But now she is gone, and so I am forced to go back to my old ways. It is the only thing I can think of that might allow some semblance of sanity, of order, to return to my life. But I shouldn't do it like this. Not here, not now. I am ill equipped.

Yes, I have a knife. But I don't have my mp3 player, which is integral to me being able to walk away unnoticed when the screams start. With it, I am just another kid listening to music on my way home. Without it, when the police look at the video footage later, I am a person acting suspiciously.

I am also without my trusty baseball cap today. I haven't worn one for most of the last two years, after Monica complained that it made me look like just another council estate low-life. The hat helps to hide my face from the cameras. Failing to wear it, along with my lack of mp3 player, makes me not only a person of interest to the police later, but one that they will have a chance of identifying.

No, today is not the right time, the right place, to do this. To go ahead now would almost be as stupid as sending the police a message with my name and address on it with a signed confession inside. I need to turn away, go home, and regroup. I didn't get away with my previous attacks by being rash and stupid.

And yet, part of me wants to go ahead and do it anyway.

Without Monica, my life has no meaning. Why should I go on with the day to day drudgery if she is not here to share it with me, to brighten up my day with nothing more than a glance in my direction?

The intellectual part of me knows that people lose loved ones all the time. Every minute of every day, somebody is kissing goodbye to one of the people that helped shape their lives, assisted them through good and bad times so that they could grow to be the person they became.

And they all manage to find a way to get on with their lives afterwards.

So I know that in time I can learn to live without Monica. The pain I feel now will lessen the more hours and minutes, days and weeks, I can continue with my life from this moment onwards. One day in the future, there will come a time where I will be able to go a whole 24 hours without thinking about my beautiful Monica.

Hell, there could even be another woman out there for me, a second chance at happiness waiting for me a few years down the road.

Right now though, the last thing I want to think about is the possibility that 5 years from now I may find someone else to love. Monica's body is still cooling on a slab, and already thoughts are going through my head of replacing her.

I am disgusted with myself for thinking this way, and just like that I decide that to hell with the fact that I will probably get caught if I step onto that platform in a few minutes and take a life. My life is over anyway, or at least the life that I know, the one that I had dreamed would go on forever.

I need to parcel up the pain, the hurt, that I am feeling right now, and pass it on to other people, random people.

I know deep down that this is the only way that I will be able to get through this. I am a killer, and always have been. The only person that could reset that switch in my head, the one that is set to on instead of off, was Monica. And now she is gone, and all those feelings that have been absent for the last few years are rushing back into my mind.

I am on autopilot as I hear the announcement informing everyone in the station of the train due to arrive on platform 7, already moving along with the crowd, one more sheep making the long slog home at the end of a hard days work.

My head is down, eyes half closed, trying to give an illusion of tired apathy to anyone that might choose to look my way. I know that the train will be here for just a few moments, just long enough for alighting and disembarking passengers to trade places, before it continues on its journey to London.

I also know that I am going to have to take a chance and actually get on the train. The next stop down the line is Stockport, 8 minutes away. There will almost certainly be enough time for the authorities to contact the train conductor, order him to keep the doors closed when the train arrives at Stockport to give the police time to gather their forces and interview everyone in the search for witnesses.

If I do this, if I actually kill somebody on this platform now, then I am going to be taking a ridiculous chance. Every person on this train is going to be questioned, including me. Names and addresses will be taken, identification requested. Committing murder today will mean I will be adding my name to the file the police will no doubt be taking out of storage and dusting off, the file that holds the evidence of my previous crimes.

Do I really want to put my name in that file? I feel confident that unless there is an eye-witness who sees me commit the crime, that I will be able to walk away without suspicion falling on me. I don't fit the profile of a mass killer, after all.

But still, having my name in that file could make me a person of interest further down the line. What if I am unable to effect a getaway at a future killing? Again, questions will be asked, identification taken, and again I will almost certainly be able to walk away.

At least initially.

But then the police will cross check witnesses to all the crimes, and sooner or later they will find my name at two crime scenes. That makes me somebody worthy of further questioning. I decide that it really isn't worth the chance. I should wait, come back in a few days, do things properly.

Moments later the train pulls away from the platform as I walk amongst the carriages, looking for a vacant seat. On the platform behind me, a crowd of people are gathering around a man lying on the ground, a kitchen knife sticking out of his back.

I suspect that it's going to be a long night.